Patrick Meyer December 2018 ” the best thing a vigneron/ne can do, is to plant trees, lots of them.” This advice has been implemented big style in 2021 and even more so in 2022. Main photo by Tristan Vuano

Here we go with 2024. As usual, we are full of ideas and projects for the new year and hopefully this time they will happen.

To kick off here are some dates for the 2024 diaries. As reported last year, the natural wine fairs in Alsace have grown in number and here is what is planned as the year moves along.

Vertig Vineux 24-25th February in Ostheim, just north of Colmar.

This will be edition 7 with the usual format of 35-40 winemakers present for the weekend. Mostly small sized domains from the French wine regions, with a handful from Alsace. Scroll down for this years poster.

d’Summer Fascht 19-20th May in Selestat.

This will be edition 6. This fair is organised by AVLA (Association Vins Libres d’Alsace) and showcases the association’s member domains and the format for tasting is by theme rather than by winemaker. AVLA was launched in 2019 and its membership covers a large group of the domains making natural wine, but certainly not all of them.

Salon des Vins Libres 20-21st July at the mythical Biotope in the mythical village of Mittelbergheim.

Edition 9 – well 9 1/2 as a mini version was held last year. Started in 2008 and originally organised/consolidated by the Alsace gang of four: Binner/Frick/Meyer/Schueller. Now run by dedicated volunteers with continued support and participation from the said gang of four. The salon showcases some of the big reputation natural wine domains in France, plus a strong international contingent from Italy and Spain. The 2024 event will have a special showcase on the Catalan region of Spain.

Phare ó Vins with a weekend date in October at the Phare Citadelle in Strasbourg.

This will be edition 3 organised by the group that runs the Phare Citadelle. The format is very much Wine/Music/Food with an emphasis on encouraging easy access, and mixing up the format of a wine fair. 25-30 winemakers, mostly from France. This fair was launched in 2022 with the goal of implementing an annual wine fair in Strasbourg.

Brut(es) 2-3rd November at the Motoco building in Mulhouse.

With Edition 6 (already). Brut(es) from the start has always looked east with a significant number of winemakers from countries on the other side of the Rhine. And bien sur with a strong Alsace contingent.

– 2023 salon brut(es) 5 –

Edition 5 of salon Brut(es) will be held on the 4-5 November at the regular venue in the Motoco buildings in Mulhouse. You can buy entry tickets and check all the details here. The web site is in French and English.

As its says on the fabulous poster – salon des vins nature, d’Est et allieurs – natural wine fair of the East and elsewhere. The poster was created by Anne-Sophie Tschiegg and you can check her web site here.

Aaron Ayscough in his 2022 book, The World of Natural Wine, heaps praise on the salon with the words – ” Among the newest and most well run of France’s natural wine salons “. You can check Aaron’s range of writing on the natural wine scene at his Not Drinking Poison blog here. Aaron will be present at the salon, waxing lyrical and dedicating copies of his excellent story/reference book.

Another author who will also be in attendance is Nicolas Senn, with his 2023 book Des Oranges en Alsace ?. In french, and documenting 22 interviews with a range of Alsace natural wine producers.

Now back to this East and Elsewhere thing. From the whopping 84 wine domains pouring at the salon, nineteen of them come from East of Mulhouse; from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Slovenia and Georgia. The organisers of Brut(es) have stuck to this theme from the first edition in 2018. We had a recent lunch with one of the organisers, Jean-Francois Hurth, and he explained this approach to bring in the winemakers from the East and also to couple this with winemakers making their first appearance at the event. From this years 84 domains, 30 are setting up their tables for the first time at Brut(es).

From the 17 Alsace domaines listed, two are tagged as NEW, that is NEW to Brut(es). Two of our well loved domains; Lambert Spielmann the neo-vigneron from Domaine in Black, who has made natural wine from his first vintages in 2019, and Domaine Kleinknecht who way back in 2002 produced their first cuvées in natural wine. Reappearing at the salon are a handful of the Alsace pioneer natural wine domaines. Three of the four domaines who started it all in Alsace: Schueller, Frick and Binner and couple of the fast followers Rietsch and Ginglinger.

Mixed in with the winemakers, the organisers have put together an eclectic list of producers in the sake, cider, beer, distillation, oils and vinegars categories.

– the project –

The Back In Alsace Project is now focused on one topic; Alsace natural wine and the associated ecosystem. As with any “old world” wine region, there are plenty of issues, degrees of bull-shit, and bad attitudes stuck in the industrial agricultural recent past. We will be giving all that sort of stuff a body swerve as we firmly focus on all that vibrant, forward looking, energy that is currently buzzing in the region.

We are big supporters of producers who practice organic or biodynamic husbandry in the vineyards. Vigneron.nes who are looking after the earth. In fact, that is the foundation of our interest. And we love winemakers that carry this attitude through to techniques in the cellar; with natural fermentations, the use of traditional and non-traumatising physical methods, and a healthy disrespect for the use of additives. These are the foundations that allow winemakers the opportunity to express a sense of terroir, a sense of wine that comes from a place, from a time with the input of human skills and attitudes. With a lot of attitude. That takes us into the space of NATURAL WINE.

And there is more to it than that, as the Back in Alsace Project is interested in the community around natural wine; the winemakers, the producer associations, the retail outlets, the wine bars and restaurants, the importers, the distributors, the journalists, the authors, the publishers, the barrel makers, the artists doing labels and posters, the wine fairs and salons, and most importantly all the workers involved in making this all whirr and rattle along. And, of course the humble masses who buy and drink the stuff.

Three shades of RED from Lucas Rieffel – captured by Mona Neilson

carte d'alsace et bouchons de vin


A view from the site kick off, way back in 2017.

cheval dans les vignes


We have a few domains currently profiled. Planning an update to do a lot more short domain profiles. Here is Jean-Marc Dreyer looking cool and contemplative.

personne testant du vin


Rolling blog, a few specific stories, and a little gem of an interview with Patrick Meyer at the Summer Fascht inaugural fair in 2017.

bouteilles rangées dans une caisse


 The wine region in numbers – varieties, exports, surfaces planted, trends. Some comments on 2019 and all the details from 2017.